I was one of the lucky people yesterday who did not have to go to work because of Hurricane Sandy. Good thing too, because the T ended up closing early and that is my primary way of getting to and from the office. However, while I was sitting at home watching bad TV, checking FB statuses to make sure friends were safe, and constantly checking the storm status my thoughts kept returning to one thing: the BARCC GALA on Nov 1st. I checked the weather repeatedly to see Sandy’s progress but also to check the weather forecast for Thursday evening to make sure it wouldn’t mess with the festivities that were planned.
I attended the Gala for the first time last year as a staff member and it was one of the most amazing events I have ever attended. I was able to mingle with donors, supporters, staff members, and volunteers. As Kelli-Beth, our Development Manager, so astutely pointed out recently it is one of the few times where we can talk about our involvement with BARCC and people will be engaged, appreciative and excited to hear about the work we do instead of being met with that awkward silence that so frequently occurs. It is a time to gather with people who come from a variety of different backgrounds, jobs, and experiences but despite all these differences we know that we are united in support of survivors, our desire to provide resources, and the belief that prevention is feasible.
The evening is an opportunity for many things: to connect with people, appreciate the work that volunteers do, and fundraise for the organization. Volunteers are truly an integral piece to our organization as they provide enough hours each year to equal 19 full time staff members. They are responsible for operating the 24-7 hotline and medical advocacy programs and conduct trainings and workshops in the greater Boston area. The gala is an opportunity to highlight the amazing work that each of them does throughout the year and also to honor the volunteer of the year for the Hotline, Medical Advocacy, and CAPS program. Volunteers of the Year are voted on and selected by each program based on their performance, dedication, and support of fellow volunteers. The gala also recognizes milestones in volunteers’ status and has awards for 5, 10, and 15 years of service. The fact that so many volunteers have given so much time to the organization speaks volumes of both the commitment they have and the community that is created within the volunteer programs.
Fundraising is an important part of the evening and the donations we receive go towards the plethora of free services we are able to offer to survivors, their significant others, and the community year-round. Last year was the first time I had ever seen a live auction and it was absolutely amazing! The auctioneer highlighted the positive energy in the room and what we all have in common: the belief that the work and services that BARCC provides is essential to the communities and people we serve. The most inspiring moment was during the “Fund-a-Need” part of the evening. During this instance, the auctioneer asked people to donate towards a program at BARCC; last year it was for the Case Management program. These donors would not be receiving a prize, trip, or any tangible item. They were donating because they knew that the CM program was an asset to the organization and the many survivors who utilized these services. Last year, over $30,000 was donated through the ‘Fund-A-Need’ portion of the evening and it was overwhelming for me to see such an outpouring of support from community members.
With the Gala just two days away, the office is buzzing with excitement to see the hard work that the Development team, Board, and Steering Committee has been doing for the past few months. I look forward to seeing everyone there! If you weren’t able to attend this year, your donations are always welcome and appreciated. Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2013 Gala, which will celebrate our 40th year!
WRITTEN BY: Stacey